Alfred Lilienthal: Why Anti-Semitism?
- Any time that we hear that Jews are "suddenly"
being persecuted, we have to ask what is really
going on. Are their opponents attacking them only
because they are Jews?
Why The Rise In Anti-Semitism In Europe?
By Dr. Alfred M. Lilienthal, author of "What Price Israel?"
WASHINGTON (PINA) - An op-ed piece by Abraham
Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League,
entitled "Europe's Anti-Israel Excuse" appeared in
the Washington Post on June 26, 2002. Foxman
claims to believe that the growing criticism in
Europe of Israeli misconduct somehow equals a
resurgence of anti-Semitism similar to the dark
Hitler era. For that matter, he makes an even far
wider claim that this supposed new rise in the old
anti-Semitism is somehow central to all human
"Throughout history a constant barometer for
judging the level of hate and exclusion vs. the
level of freedom and democracy in any society has
been anti-Semitism -- how a country treats its
Jewish citizens. Jews have been persecuted and
delegitimized throughout history because of their
perceived differences. Any society that can
understand and accept Jews is typically more
democratic, more open and accepting of 'the
other.' This predictor has held true throughout
Here in Foxman's own words, we have a prime
example of the kind of egocentric and grandiose
preoccupation with his Jewishness that tends to
give other Jews a bad name. What hogwash that
throughout all of human history and throughout all
the societies that have ever existed, the world
has somehow revolved around the status of "The
This claim of unique Jewish specialness is
preposterous and offensive. If the Irish, the
Chinese, the Arabs, the Catholics, the Buddhists,
or any other ethnic or religious group made such a
ridiculous universal claim about themselves, we
would likely find it both disgusting and
laughable. Foxman makes this absurd statement, but
if we dare to say it is absurd, immediately he
would counter that we are anti-Semitic to say so.
A half century ago there were only a few of us
Jews in America who were willing to be openly
anti-Zionist and publicly question Israel's brutal
conduct toward the Arab inhabitants of Palestine.
Rabbi Elmer Berger and I used to tangle with the
Anti-Defamation League even way back then. We were
labeled self-hating Jews, and our criticisms of
Zionism were thus largely dismissed. Berger passed
on from this world in 1996, but I am still around
to attempt to refute the many distortions of
Abraham Foxman and the present ADL.
Fortunately, I am no longer alone in my old age
to make these challenges! Younger Jewish people in
America and Europe and throughout the world are
now bravely and eloquently speaking out. The
Washington Post printed on July 6, 2002 the
following Letter to the Editor by a Board Member
of "Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel":
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